The Keweenaw Water Trail is a designated route established in 1995 for paddlers of sea kayaks and canoes. Nicknamed “A Superior Sports Port” by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, the Water Trail exemplifies the Keweenaw Peninsula in the most literal sense. 


Check out our interactive Copper Harbor Sea Kayak map and get a taste of paddling in the Keweenaw!  Join Matt and Tyler, two guides from the Keweenaw Adventure Company, as they navigate the coastal Lake Superior waters near Copper Harbor and offer tips to get the most out of your Keweenaw paddle experience.


The Keweenaw offers a rugged coastline that competes with that of the legendary Isle Royale, only without the ferryboat ride. It highlights a mixture of the many moods of Lake Superior, which can change in short order. Here are some recommendations to have a fun and safe experience:

  • Paddlers should grab an official Keweenaw Water Trail Map to help plan routes and identify camp entrance/exit sites. Water-proof/tear-proof KWT maps are available through the Keweenaw Land Trust. 
  • Paddlers should be familiar with potential landing sites along the route as steep, rocky shorelines or cliffs and private property issues can be encountered. Much of the Keweenaw’s shoreline not owned by the State is either in private conservancy land or is registered as Commercial Forest Reserve (CFR) land. This land is valuable to the owners and their generosity should not be infringed upon by the negligent use of the land. 
  • Please respect private ownership by not camping without direct permission from the owner and by obeying sign postings.
  • Water temperatures even during a hot day in August average only in the low to mid 50’s and the Lake is colder than that during most paddling season. Cold water temperatures cool the air in the summer and a 10-degree temperature difference from the inland temperature and should be expected. The cold water creates even more of a need to wear a life vest (PFD) as the frigid water can quickly deplete motor skills if immersed in the event of a capsize. Most paddlers wear wetsuits and use spray skirts for added protection.
  • When in doubt, follow adopt a “Leave No Trace” mindset. Much of the land and waters used by recreational paddlers are ecological gems. Let’s keep it that way.  This means:
    • Plan ahead and prepare.
    • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
    • Dispose of waste properly. Pack out what you pack in. Bury human waste at least 100’ from any water source.
    • Leave what you find….take only pictures, leave only footprints.
    • Minimize impacts of campfires.
    • Respect wildlife.
    • Be considerate of other visitors.


Don’t have a kayak?  Need a wet suit? Not a problem.  You can rent one from a few locations around the Keweenaw.  Check out these local businesses for equipment and more:  

Places to paddle, gear, and more: